After Marrakesh: what I learned from a bunch of strangers
My dear, great, friend Jenni has always looked out for me. In fact, she has always had my back since she took me under her wing in 2008. She has always been a shoulder to cry on, a guide and someone I can tell my woes too. I was reflecting on my affection for her this weekend when I went on Vincent De Lima’s Fitness Camp trip to Morocco.
I had a great time with the fitness crew – it’s lovely not to be in charge or responsible. I organised nothing and if you know me, you’ll know I don’t do detail. I’m right-brain dominant and happy to roll with uncertainty and see where life takes me. That being said, dear Jenni booked me on an excursion to the Atlas Mountains (without my say-so). To be honest, I would have rather chilled at the Be Live resort, but I couldn’t let her down so had to go. Reflecting on my time away, I realised I have learned so much, below are the just four of the golden nuggets I took away.
Day 1: Atlas Mountains
Lesson 1: We all have mountains
We all have our personal mountains to climb. At times we may want to give up and at times we may wish we never started the journey at all. At other times, the mountain may seem insurmountable. Fret not, we all have our mountains and even though we will walk our unique journey alone, take comfort in companionship and help your fellow human when you can.
Day 2: Yoga & Body Jam at Be Live Hotel followed by rump-shaking at the Sofitel Hotel
Lesson 2: It’s not good to be alone
As you know, your girl Key always has her psychotherapist hat on. I love life and experiencing different contexts, people and cultures. It gives me a wonderful opportunity to experience humanity in all its authentic glory. One of the biggest psychological challenges facing the western world is loneliness and isolation.
As a self-employed psychotherapist, believe it or not, I spend much of my time alone. Yes, I see clients, but my time is focused on them. After that, it’s back to being with me. When I used to work at HMP Wormwood Scrubs I was surrounded by thousands of people every day and made some great friendships there. Loneliness is just one of the unintended consequences of self-employment, and it’s not only me feeling it. The campaign to end loneliness is just a sign that being on our lonesome is fast becoming a serious issue and it’s not just an ageing population that is suffering.
On Vincent De Lima’s fitness weekender, I truly experienced the benefits of group camaraderie, from negotiating discounts to bonding with new people and making connections that ordinarily I wouldn’t have done. I was treated to a bottle of rum (how nice is that), joined in with Karaoke, puffed on a strawberry shisha and marvelled at authentic Indian dancing in the heart of an African country. We had a cheeky McDonalds, and I hit 10k steps in 3 short hours while partying hard on the dance floor – Woop, woop!
Plus, I experienced yoga, meditation and attended a mindset class where I set three goals, to be spread over a 90-day period. One goal was to join Vincent’s classes and to make a commitment to physical activity. Both are linked to self-care and will minimise my alone time. I have signed up today, so watch out for some more pics – I’m gonna master that downward dog!
Day 3: Be Live Hotel Massage and chilling by the pool
Lesson 3: It’s not good to cry alone
It really is not good for you to be alone – humans are social beings. Let down the mask and let someone in. Crying in the company of others can be so incredibly good for the soul. It breaks down barriers, shows your humanity and defies the expectations that we are perpetually strong.
We all hurt and it’s good to let people in. After all, we all battle with life and we all have personal pains to contend with. Crying together breaks isolation, forges new bonds and allows you to be comforted by another soul.
We really had a beautiful afternoon by the pool, caring, sharing, belly laughing and de-masking. Then the sun came down and we all went back to our world where it’s likely the iron mask returned, but hopefully without the same intensity. In that beautiful afternoon, we had beautiful moments together, we demasked just for a little while and gave ourselves permission to just be in the moment. I appreciated that time. I appreciated the laughter. I appreciated the truthfulness of it all. You see, congruence really is the key to living your best life.
It was a marvellous weekend and without doing the detail I had no idea what I signed up for, so I went with the flow and let life take me on a journey. I am so, so, so, glad that I went alone. I got out of my comfort zone, I tried something different and met new people. How great is that? It reminds me of when I went to Portugal 2018 and tried something different, I did a video based on that same experience (click below) and had a great time.
Plus, I revisited how important my relationship is with my dear friend Jenni. 11 years and still going strong – I’m always moved when I hear her call me her ‘best mate’. What a blessing, it moves me every time. She is a woman with high standards and zero tolerance for nonsense. She has always had my best interests at heart and knows rather well the back of the tapestry which represents my personal life.
Day 4: Marrakesh Airport
Lesson 4: Class matters
Class really does matter. When I decided I wanted more for my life than a council flat, low paid work and a hand to mouth existence, I really needed people on my path to guide me, pull me up and tell me like it is. Jenni has always been that person, she helped to raise my expectations and reject / distance myself from people and situations that no longer served me. I am so grateful she has exposed me to different life experiences, with different people and expanded my mind. Most of all, I am grateful she encouraged me to do better. No words will convey my gratitude to you. You are loved. You are appreciated.
If you are trying to move up in life and are battling with trying to progress from your current social status, please inbox me. The struggle is real, and we all need guides:
REMEMBER: Self-care is not selfish. Self-care has many benefits for your mental health -the potential to change is inside you.
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